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Trophy mule deer poacher receives $8,000 fine

SPRINGVILLE Montana resident Troy Butler was recently convicted of poaching a trophy-class mule deer in Utah. The buck deer was taken near Kamas on Nov. 15, 2004. The trophy-class buck had a 31-inch antler spread.

Butler was fined $8,000, and his 7mm rifle, knives, night vision and other equipment used in the poaching incident were taken from him as well.

The arrest began when Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Leatham pulled Butler and a companion over for a traffic violation. Leatham noticed that Butler was covered in fresh blood. Leatham also saw a newly-removed antler rack in the vehicle. The deer antlers were tagged with a Montana antelope tag. Because of this evidence and other suspicious factors, Leatham contacted the Division of Wildlife Resources and conservation officers Dave Swenson, Bruce Johnson and Jerry Schlappi responded quickly to the scene.

Butler had purchased a Utah nonresident archery tag that allowed him to hunt deer on extended season archery units in the state. In addition to tagging the deer with an antelope tag, Butler was hunting outside of the extended archery unit boundaries; was trespassing on private property; and illegally used a firearm, instead of archery equipment, to kill the deer.

"This is a great catch," said DWR Conservation Officer Dave Swenson. "Butler has a history of wildlife violations in Montana. This conviction discourages this type of person from poaching in the future. Butler is also subject to having his big game hunting privileges revoked for a considerable amount of time in our state."


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